AGM 2023 Annual Report

Committee Annual Report for 2023 AGM

For the Hawkes Bay Branch of the Anthroposophical Society in New Zealand


Chair:                  Robin Bacchus

Treasurer:           Kate Hartland

Secretary:           Robyn Hewetson

Committee:        John Jackson
                           Angela Hair

Until recently we have met monthly.  Minutes are filed in a folder in the Library.

There have been several changes to the Committee membership during the year.

Robyn Hewetson (Secretary) and Kate Hartland (Treasurer) continued from last year.  Nic Parkes, who developed the website and Room booking system, left and has since joined the ASNZ Council.  Florian Roger was elected at last AGM but resigned after a few meetings.  Robin Bacchus was co-opted and took on the role of Chair.  John Jackson and Angela Hair were co-opted later in the year.

Kate Hartland will retire at this AGM from the Committee and the role of Treasurer, which she has fulfilled so well for many years, and from the role of Trustee.  Thank you very much, Kate for your sterling work.  We have co-opted Stephen Diedericks, who is an accountant, to take on the role of Treasurer.

The other members: Robyn Hewetson, John Jackson, Angela Hair and Robin Bacchus offer themselves for election or re-election to the Committee.

An urgent challenge for the incoming Committee is to establish shared expectations and effective ways of working together that are vital to an harmonious, well-running Committee.


We have various members, some not on the Committee, managing caring responsibilities around the Centre:

We are all volunteers, and some devote many hours of effort and hard work to maintain the Rudolf Steiner Centre and all that goes on inside it.

A hearty round of applause for these people.


New Members

We welcomed the following:

  • Sandra Cowen
  • Tim Durrant
  • Amaali Shaw
  • Amanda Sowersby

Members who have died:

We farewell:

  • Sandra Simpson, d. 20 July 2022.
  • Heike Houben, d. 5 September 2022


We also farewell:

  • Luke Badger

Festivals, Events, Talks, Activities

Introductory Talks for Parents

An Initiative Group, founded to bring cultural events to the Centre, invited Playgroup parents along with Kindergarten and Taikura School parents to a series of 12 introductory talks which were held on Wednesday afternoons.  The occasions were an opportunity to introduce to listeners to the resources available in the Library.  Speakers included Hans and Ineke van Florenstein Mulder, Bernie Raichle, Margaret Stevenson, Marjorie Theyer, Robin Bacchus, Kelly Sutton, and Rosie Simpson.  Topics were Human evolution and Child development and education.


A variety of themes emerged from the ‘Conversations – Anthroposophy, Culture and Spirit ’ gatherings:

  • Taherama Tamatea
  • Hans van Florenstein Mulder
  • “Rosemary” by Kaye Keats in a celebration of Spring
  • “A Life’s Journey” by Eva Steinmetz-Urieli
  • “General Secretaries meeting in the Goetheanum, Dornach” by Michelle Vette.
  • Joce Freeman spoke on her path in life.
  • Sue Simpson spoke about the Anthroposophical Society and the School of Spiritual Science.
  • Rosie Simpson spoke at Taruna about Taruna.
  • Clayton Gibson "What is it to be an Anthroposophist in changing times and as a citizen of a Pacific Nation?”


The Festival Group has been looking after the seasonal festivals.

Mid-winter which was carried by Sue Simpson and included a painting exercise which gave everyone a deep inward experience appropriate for this time of the year.

Spring festival was led by Rachel Pomeroy who’s talk on biodynamics and what was currently happening in the outer world was so interesting it became one of our longer festivals.

Mid-Summer was led by John Jackson who focussed on the Archangel Uriel and his message for us at this time of the year. It included an explorative eurythmy exercise with John A.

As a festival group we are open to new people.  Please contact me –    John Jackson.

Close to Michaelmas there was a stirring of the preparation BD500 and a Talk on “What Michael asks of us” by Hans Mulder.

To celebrate Rudolf Steiner’s 162nd birthday there was a Friday gathering where Benjamin Crellin gave the introductory talk.


Displays in the Foyer and Centre have included:

  • Tivaevae Patterns and Quilts
  • Healing plants
  • Human Form & life drawings
  • Ocean Art
  • Betty Huiber’s colourful paintings


Several talks were given during the year:

  • Hebert Wolpert spoke on the “Escalating Conflict in Ukraine”
  • Angela Hair spoke on “The Art of Homeopathic Remedies”
  • Dr. Richard Drexel spoke on “Major and Minor in the Human Being”

The First Goetheanum   

To commemorate the Burning of the First Goetheanum on New Year’s Eve 1922, the Initiative Group organised a display of art from the First Goetheanum.  A talk with slides was given at the opening by Robin Bacchus to illustrate aspects o Rudolf Steiner architectural and artistic impulse.  Guided tours were offered.

On the 100th anniversary of the burning, Hans Mulder spoke of the significance of this event.


Throughout 2022 the library saw consistent borrowing from members, and also approaches and borrowing from people who had been guided there by teachers, art teachers etc.,   It is always heartening to seeing regularly returning books, knowing the library is supporting the reading and study needs of members, but can also act as a catalyst to introduce new people to Rudolf Steiner’s work.

We have endeavoured to purchase as many new books as we can.   Robin lists these in the Sunday Newsletter.   We would encourage you to recommend new titles.   New Publications are promoted in the ‘New View’ magazine for people to consider.   New books that we purchase need to be responsive to your needs.

We could also consider replacing some of the very old versions of key Rudolf Steiner Books.  Revised publications and new translations are often re-titled and their content is more accessible to contemporary readers. 

Maybe these would attract new readers and study groups.

Gifted Books:    People within the community often gift a book; because they have read it and want to make it available to others and sometimes because they feel it is an important book that needs to be read.  

We truly appreciate your donations.

At the end of last year, we were donated the personal library of Allysen and Michael Caris:  A warm and generous gesture.

Looking ahead: 

As one of the two librarians, it is most likely I will be away most of this year.  It would be wonderful if there is someone who would consider joining the Library Team. 

If you would like to know more about the role, please approach myself or Fran or the Chair of the Committee for more details.   Also, there are always one-off tasks that can be undertaken if you can’t commit to a day but would like to help.

We really do need new alphabet signage for the Rudolf Steiner section.  There are sets available commercially, but it is possible there is someone in the community who would love the challenge of crafting them.  

It would enhance the appearance of these important books.

We are aware of a number of people intending to gift their personal libraries to the Centre, with some planning to do this in the near future.  It does raise the question of adequate space - or reconsidering how existing spaces in the Centre are used.   Something for members to think about!

The current library day (Wednesday) coincides with Kathy Allen’s art class.  The ‘hum’ of sharing coffee together with the art groups brings a social element into the day.   Small study groups or meetings can take place in the Library area, outside the Wednesday Library hours.  Again these activities enliven the life of the Anthroposophical Centre.

Margaret Stevenson

Website and Newsletter

Nic Parkes, who set up our website: has passed this task on to Robin Bacchus who is working his way into its intricacies.  A weekly Newsletter has appeared nearly every week to highlight coming events and share communications from individual members.  It is emailed every Sunday to 118 local members, 65 Friends and 13 members outside Hawkes Bay.

Room Rental   

Three rooms in the Centre (Main Room, Art Room and Consulting Room) have been hired out on a fairly regular basis for Eurythmy, Music lessons, Starjam, a pre-school play group; Art lessons and Art Therapy and Homeopathic Consultancy.  The financial support this provides the Branch has been an important part of our income.  For the first few months of this year there has been over 170 hours booked.  So, this is proving to be a useful facility for our community.


The lawns are mown and edges trimmed regularly by a group from Hohepa, but this was disrupted occasionally by Covid, the very wet summer and Cyclone Gabrielle.

Various members and friends have spent many hours weeding the gardens, but the wet summer has led to prolific growth of oxalis and convolvulus that almost grow while you are watching them.

To help manage this we have removed the ungainly pile of rubbish at the back of the building on which the weeds were being piled without the hope of ever becoming compost.  In its place we have a Greenwaste bin collected fortnightly.  Te Whiti Seeds has been asked to help in the garden when requested.

The exceptional rain we have had over the last 12 months has exposed several problems.  The bamboo at the back of the building on Taikura property which has grown very tall was shedding leaves onto the Centre roof and gutters, blocking them and causing overflows, resulting in the Foyer being flooded several times.  The Bamboo has been cut down and the gutters cleared.  The Kowhai tree near the front veranda also blocked gutters has been trimmed.  The heavy rain also revealed that a section of the gutter had rusted through – it has been replaced.

Inside, some of the electrical wiring had to be renewed for Insurance purposes and fire alarms checked because they were going off at random times.

Cecile Hurford cleans the Centre regularly on Fridays for which we are most grateful.

While Sparks was still offering free connection we have had a fibre optical cable connected to a terminal in the Consulting Room.  This enables the Internet to be connected in the future, but this has not been done yet.

Robin Bacchus   Committee Chair